After a disappointing 2017 season that ended with a 9-7 record for the Detroit Lions, hopes were high that new head coach Matt Patricia could mastermind an improvement last season. Unfortunately, the team failed to improve on their 2017 outing, finishing with an overall record of 6-10.
Adding to that, it was the first time since 2015 that the Detroit Lions suffered a losing season, missing out on the playoffs for a second consecutive season and finishing rock bottom in the NFC North.
The first victory over New England Patriots in 19 years was a brief bright spot for Lions fans, as was the sweep against the Green Bay Packers for the second season in the row. Yet those victories weren’t enough to fill in the cracks of a profligate offense that had fans tearing their hair out throughout the season.
With a new offensive coordinator on the wage bill, is there reason to be hopeful ahead of the 2019 season?
Victories against the Green Bay Packers papered over the cracks of what was a disappointing season for Detroit
The Kevin Golladay Factor
Ever since selecting Calvin Johnson 12 years ago, Detroit Lions have had little to no luck when it comes to drafting wide receivers. That all seemed to change in 2017 when, relatively unknown, Kevin Golladay was selected as the Lions new wide receiver from Northern Illinois.
The rookie had a debut to remember as he scored two touchdowns in an epic comeback win over Arizona Cardinals. His early performances soon had players of daily fantasy football selecting him on their teams, although he was renowned to be a risky inclusion. Like all youngsters, Golladay struggled to find consistency, although his talent was there for all to see. In a poor offensive season last year, Golladay was the only bright spark grabbing 70 catches for 1,063 yards and getting five touchdowns.
With every passing game, Golladay has improved as a player adding experience to his super impressive size and power. The 2019 season will be a pivotal year for his career as he looks to continue improving and become the focal point of the Lions’ offense.
Kevin Golladay is a top 15 wide receiver, but he undoubtedly has the ability to be one of the very best in the NFL. The only thing standing in his way this season will be Matt Patricia’s expected switch to a committee style offense.
Marvin Jones, Danny Ammendola, Jesse James and T.J. Hockenson are expected to play a bigger role in the offense this season, which could mitigate the statistical impact of Kevin Golladay.
Kevin Golladay’s career has been on an upward trajectory for the past two seasons, if that trend continues next season Detroit fans will be smiling
Key Roster Moves
The Detroit Lions were quick to act in the off-season, identifying the players that they needed to improve after their poor 2018 showing. Trey Flowers was the biggest name the franchise could get their hands on and it looks as if it will be a good move for both parties.
Whilst offense was clearly a problem for Detroit last season, the defense wasn’t much better. Matt Patricia decided to find the solution to his team’s defensive woes in Trey Flowers, a player he knows well from his time at New England.
Flowers is an incredibly hard worker and most importantly an organizer and a leader. At times last season, Detroit Lions looked like a bunch of individuals rather than a well-oiled team. Flowers will be key in bringing everyone together and adding cohesion to a defense that was in flux in 2018.
If you’re struggling to break teams down with a lackluster offense why not bring in the fastest gun in the west? That’s the parallel being drawn by Lions fans after the franchise signed the namesake of America’s most famous gunslinger.
James, the former Steelers tight end, arrives in Detroit looking to get regular game time and become the focal point of an offense for the first time in his career so far. The young tight end may not have been the first name on everyone’s lips at the beginning of the draft, but he could be an excellent acquisition.
Jesse James has flown under the radar for much of his career but has still managed to be a consistently productive player. If James and Golladay can rotate as the focal point of the offense, then the Lions will be on track to improve their attacking intent next season.
The defensive end was one of the Lions best picks in the 2018 draft, going on to become the team’s best edge rusher for the season. Keeping him with Detroit was an absolute must for the Lions and they will are delighted to have signed him up for another two seasons.
Okwara’s role in the team looks likely to change somewhat next season with a heavy rotation expected ahead of him. However, he has shown adaptability and a willingness to change throughout his career and will undoubtedly be a key player for the team again next season.
Securing Romeo Okwara’s signature for the next two seasons is a major coup for Detroit
. Detroit’s offense needs a major revamp and new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has outlined his desire to do just that, completely shaking up the team’s offense ahead of the new season.
The Lions will be employing a more balanced approach to offensive play in 2019, the new coach favors a play-calling style and the players brought in during the off-season seem to fit that emphasis.
Last season, everyone in the stadium could predict the Lions next move without breaking a sweat. Expect to see more inventive offensive plays and a team that gets the fans on their feet on a regular basis.
Kevin Golladay’s relentless self-improvement, Darrel Bevell’s devotion to genuinely exciting offense plays and a host of exciting roster moves have got Lions fans on the edge of their seats for the first time in a long while.
Not finishing on a losing season must be the bare minimum target for Detroit in 2019, but coupled with that there must be more plays that will get the fans excited again. Don’t expect out of this world improvements in 2019, but instead look forward to more exciting football and winning football.